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December 7, 2006 |

I’ve just posted a short conference paper here on work I’ve been doing with Heather Horst on Neopets. I’ve been trying to get some traction on researching Neopets for quite some time, and have been slowly making some progress.

Despite the fact that Neopets is one of the most trafficked sites on the web, and probably the most popular web site for kids, there is remarkably little research on it. The relatively young user base and the structure of the communication on the site are probably the main reasons for this lack of research attention. In comparison to MMORPGs or online forums, it is a challenge to research because the site attracts a large number of casual gamers, and there are no easy ways for researchers to hang out with participants on the site. We are, however, slowly accumulating some interviews with Neopets players as part of our digital youth research, and hope to have a more sustained description of Neopets engagement before too long.

This current paper was presented at the American Anthropological Association meetings, and describes some of the economic activity and exchange that kids engage with on the site.